White Bean Cassoulet with Pork and Lentils is a hearty and flavorful French dish, traditionally made with white beans, various meats (such as pork sausages, bacon, and sometimes lamb or duck), and aromatic vegetables. It's a perfect comfort food for colder days and a great way to showcase the delicious combination of beans and meat. Here's a recipe to make this tasty dish:
1 lb (450g) dried white beans (such as Great Northern or Cannellini), soaked overnight
1 lb (450g) boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 pork sausages (such as Toulouse sausage or any other flavorful sausage)
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 cup lentils (green or brown), rinsed
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 bouquet garni (a bundle of herbs tied together, typically containing thyme, bay leaves, and parsley)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and drain the soaked white beans and set them aside.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until it starts to brown and render its fat.
Add the pork shoulder pieces to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Brown the pork on all sides, then remove it from the pot and set it aside.
In the same pot, add the pork sausages and cook until they are browned on all sides. Remove them from the pot and set them aside with the pork.
Lower the heat to medium, and in the same pot, add a bit more olive oil if needed. Sauté the chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until they become soft and translucent.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two to develop the flavors.
Add the soaked and drained white beans to the pot, along with the rinsed lentils, dried thyme, and bay leaf. Mix everything together.
Place the browned pork and sausages back into the pot, nestling them among the beans and vegetables.
Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and water, making sure the liquid covers all the ingredients. If needed, add more water to ensure everything is submerged.
Drop in the bouquet garni and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the cassoulet to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer gently for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beans and lentils are tender and the flavors have melded together.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve the white bean cassoulet with pork and lentils hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired. It's delicious on its own or accompanied by a crusty baguette.
Enjoy your comforting and delicious White Bean Cassoulet with Pork and Lentils!